Tuesday, November 4, Election Day, may be the most important day of our lives — and even more so for the children and grandchildren we will eventually leave behind.
Whoever the winner, there will be pockets of discontent, as is always the case. A McCain victory will terrify those who believe he will perpetuate the destructive and divisive legacy of W. An Obama win may galvanize the dark and deep forces that believe individual freedoms can be sacrificed at the altars of racism, elitism, and militarism.
Many of us are look to the hundreds of thousands of newly registered voters to make the result of Tuesday’s vote clear — not close. America needs a mandate that shouts how angry the nation is about the current madness and how its citizens refuse to take it any more!
We look too to the few states that, because of the warped and esoteric Electoral College system, hold the fate of the country in their hands. Even worse, America depends on voting machine technology that, in early voting these past several days, already portends snafus and worse.
Florida owes all of us, big time, for its screw-up in 2000, when Gore’s defeat, certified by the Supreme Court, ushered in the reign of W. That was marked by too many voting machine malfunctions, unreasonably long lines, and other problems.
As much as Americans long for candidates of whom we can be proud, we dream of election results in which we can believe. We don’t ask for much: just the right to go to the polls and cast our ballot knowing it will count — and for the candidate we intended.
This Election Day will mark the first time in many years when the choices are crystal clear.
For the first time in a long time, voters are out to cast a ballot FOR a man they believe can save them from the mess they are in, not against his opponent. This year, we are fighting for our economic, medical, military, and patriotic lives.
Like many, I am going to the polls to vote for a man who defeated my first choice for president. Like them, I nurse some remaining wounds about the importance of race over gender. Those wounds, however, pale against the mortal insult to Hillary Clinton and women represented, at every level, by Sarah Palin.
In Obama’s vice-presidential pick, Joe Biden, I am reassured that, even without a six-figure Neiman Marcus/Saks makeover, the second-in-command will make America a better, safer, more equitable, and more respected nation — for women as well as for men.
Next Tuesday, Americans can take a first step toward making history. They can get themselves a piece of the promised “hope.” It is a hope based on intelligence, thoughtfulness, openness and calm persistence; a hope weaned on decades of striving and achieving, hard work, listening, observing, shouldering insult and disrespect, digesting, building and rebuilding.
It is a hope that is not new, but one originally born of our immigrant parents, grandparents and great-grandparents that just now — finally — is having a second chance.